New flock/old flock--integrate or start fresh?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chookchick, May 31, 2017.

  1. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I always wondered how I would make the transition from my old flock when the time came. I had 6 hens, eight and nine years old, only 2 were laying at all last fall. Over the winter I lost three! (2 got ill and neighbor put them down for me, one died on the roost in the middle of night). Now I have three, and one has been not up to snuff (sits a lot) for a while. Only one is laying--the 9 year old! still 3 eggs per week.

    Now I've got 4 chicks in the brooder that are 3 weeks old. In another week, I need to get them out of the brooder and into at least a portion of the run. There is a mini-coop that they can use if necessary for a while.

    I'm really torn right now about whether to just put down the one hen, and try and integrate the new ones with the last two old hens. I know it will be a PITA, but they are still trucking, and I have plenty of room...or whether to have all three put down at once and start fresh. Are the old hens likely to carry diseases or mites? Is there any value to having them around for the young ones? Is integration too stressful for those old hens?
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Depending on how poorly the one is doing, I'd maybe consider putting her down. If the others are healthy, I'd leave them be. Especially if one is still laying!
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Your healthy old birds ill be an asset, teaching your youngsters how to live in your environment. Keep them! Your chicks can go out there in a section of the coop, visible but separate, for a couple of weeks, and then go outside together and gradually integrate with the oldsters. Mary
     
  4. AGmom

    AGmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Personally I'd remove the sick one and introduce the young ones at the same time. Put the young ones in the coop area at night if your nervous you can use a small cage let them all wake up together. If you have a large run/pen area with plenty of "escape" places for them to hide and roosts to retreat too they should be fine the youngsters can probably outrun your old girls anyway. We've added birds three times over the last two years. Every time we've removed a few birds and reset the coop and run at the same time the old pecking order is suspended with bird removal so they are figuring out first among themselves who's the "boss" now and trying to find the new feeding stations waterers and nest boxes. After about a week if they realized there were "different" birds around they couldn't remember when or how it happened and basically forgot to peck on them.
     
  5. AGmom

    AGmom Out Of The Brooder

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    if their chicks you may find having the older birds around to teach them what is safe and warning signs of predators especially benaficial.
     
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I too like a multi- generational flock. As I have added and subtracted chicks and adults for years, I really think it does not bother them. I used a one way gate, that the chicks could fit through, and bigger birds could not, some hide outs, and in a week, they were out in the flock, and never did they get seriously thumped.

    I too think it creates a healthier chicken society, especially if any of the new chicks are roosters. A bigger bird, keeps roosters in check a little longer.
     
  7. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh my, I hope none of them are roosters! My first batch was 3/4 roosters! They won't work in this neighborhood, though I would love one. I can fence the run in half and give the chicks their own area for as long as necessary. I'm also working on a new larger run addition, which would be helpful.

    I'm hesitating also because the one still laying (a GLW) is such a beyotch and bully. I've had to pen her up separately several times for bad behavior. Maybe she has mellowed with old age? The other one is an EE and very sweet, I have no fear with her.

    If having the older hens would be an asset for the chicks, I will go through the effort of integration.
     
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I have used a broody hen for years, so after a wreck, I was nervous with chicks and a flock. I used a lattice panel, and it worked perfectly. I just fenced off an area with that, and had a wind shelter inside it. The first 2 days, the chicks stayed behind it, then would venture out, and back going through it like water. The older birds could not follow them. It worked perfectly? They all set their terms and in a week, I took it down with no problems.
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I love the lattice idea. I agree no sense killing a bird who is still giving you eggs. I'd cull the sickly bird, keep the older two, and integrate the chicks with the older hens.
     
  10. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mrs. K--how old were your chicks when you did this lattice panel introduction?

    I took the young ones out for a "field trip" to a portion of the run. The older ones were complaining a fair amount, but less than I had expected. Perhaps they are still in shock? Tomorrow, I'll try a bit longer. Looks like I need to build a bit more for the "in between" stage, until the chicks are old enough.
     

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